Studying the numbers on San Jose Earthquakes great start

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Sporting Kansas City shot out of the gate this year like 5th graders through the doors on the last day of school. They were off and flying.

Meanwhile, San Jose started a bit slowly before climbing steadily, and with some authority, into the Western Conference top spot. So MLS watchers have been understandably slow to catch on here, a little behind perhaps in understanding just how good Frank Yallop has the Quakes rattling and rolling.

No worries. We’ll sort it out right here. Let’s dig a bit into the numbers and see just how high this Earthquakes’ zeppelin has already risen:

Stacking up the points: Frank Yallop’s crew collected 38 points in 34 matches last year, barely over a point a game. So, 22 points from nine matches this year (2.4 points per match) is a significant improvement.

Speaking of points … : Yallop’s men have collected those points by early May, through nine matches. Last year’s team need 18 matches (exactly twice as many) to gain those same 22 points.

How high will he climb?: MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski has 10 goals this year. The math says he’s on a warpath toward something in the high 30s, which would be a league record. (Roy Lasssiter’s 27 is the current mark. Worried much, Roy?) Things do happen, so nobody can believe at this point that he’ll reach into the high 30s. (They may hope …) The point is, this is a fantastic start for Wondolowski.

About to lap last year’s total: “Wonder Wondo” scored hit 16 last year, a total that allowed him to share the final league lead. Safe to say this year’s race is going to stretch beyond that total, possibly quite a bit.

Goals in 2012 vs. 2011: San Jose has a league-leading 20 goals. They hit No. 20 for the 2011 season on July 20.

About that guy with the Brady Bunch hair: Don’t underestimate Steven Lenhart’s contributions. Four goals in seven matches may not look stunningly significant, but it represents some level of scoring dispersion, which was a big Earthquakes’ problem last year. Simon Dawkins was second leading scorer at Buck Shaw in 2011 – with a meager six goals. Bottom line on the Earthquakes in 2011: when Wonder Wondo wasn’t scoring, the Quakes usually lost. With such a wonderful variety of attacking options at Yallop’s choosing, that may not necessarily be the case this year.

The 2 Robbies podcast: Man City steps towards the title, Merseyside recap

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect Derby Day, where Man City set the Premier League single season all time consecutive winning streak against rivals Man United, Jurgen Klopp had a bad day at the office against the blue half of Merseyside and Arsenal stutter again away from home.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

La Liga & Serie A: Suarez, Messi pace Barca; AC Milan tops Bologna

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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

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Villareal 0-2 Barcelona

The visitors struggled to break down Villareal’s back line throughout the opening 45 minutes, but the Blaugrana were aided by Raba’s second-half dismissal on Sunday. From there, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez helped Barca pick up its 12th win of the season and restore the club’s five-point lead over Valencia.

Messi’s goal — his 525th for the club — matched Gerd Muller’s Barca record on Sunday, while the finish was his 18th in all competitions this season.

Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Saul Niguez scored his second goal of the La Liga season to help give Atletico an important road victory against Real Betis. Atleti now sits third in Spain’s top flight, but remains six points behind league leaders Barcelona.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Sociedad 0-2 Malaga
Levante 1-2 Athletic Bilbao


AC Milan 2-1 Bologna

Giacomo Bonaventura scored twice on Sunday to give AC Milan a victory at the San Siro. The midfielder opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, before Simone Verdi’s finish in the 23rd minute leveled the match for Bologna. Bonaventura tabbed his second goal of the day in the 76th minute to give the Rossoneri a win and keep the team inside the top seven. Milan currently sits on 24 points through 16 matches.

 

Elsewhere in Serie A

Chievo Verona 0-0 Roma
Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina
SPAL 2-2 Hellas Verona
Udinese 2-0 Benevento
Sassuolo 2-1 Crotone

Second-half burst gives Ajax big win over Dutch leaders PSV

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For only the second time this season, Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven have lost a league match.

Ajax stormed back for a 3-0 victory over PSV on Sunday in Der Topper, the long-standing rivalry between the two Dutch powerhouses.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from the Manchester Derby ]

The victory moves Ajax up to third place on 32 points this season, while PSV remains atop the league table on 39 points.

David Neres, Lasse Schöne and Donny van de Beek each scored in a span of 11 minutes after the halftime break to five the hosts a comfortable result.

Neres broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when he stunned PSV with a long-distance volley that couldn’t be dealt with by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.

Schone then found the back of the net three minutes later, while Van de Beek capped off the outing with the dagger in the 72 minute.

Sunday’s win also gives Ajax a slim advantage over their rival in the all-time Eredivisie series, 54-24-53.

Stanford knocks off Indiana to capture third consecutive NCAA title

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Prior to this weekend, only one team in NCAA men’s soccer history had won three or more titles in consecutive years. Now, you can add Stanford to that list.

The Cardinal knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium behind Sam Werner’s extra-time winner.

[ MORE: Kamara, Zimmerman amongst biggest MLS trade moves on Sunday ]

Werner, who also scored the second goal for the Cardinal in Friday night’s 2-0 victory against the Akron Zips, provided the finish in the second overtime after powering a shot over Hoosiers goalkeeper Trey Muse.

On the cold day in Chester, PA, both sides struggled to come up with chances on goal, with the Hoosiers managing just one shot on target in the match.

Prior to 2015, Stanford had never won a College Cup in school history, however, the Cardinal are now tied for sixth in NCAA history with their third championship.

The University of St. Louis has captured the most titles in men’s soccer, with 10, while Indiana’s eight championships rank second.